Suunto Ambit Overpowers iPhone in Fitness Testing at Heart Rate Watch Company

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The Suunto Ambit GPS watch covered Bridger Bowl Ski Area in Bozeman, Montana on a recent testing day versus iPhone with an app at a recent Heart Rate Watch Company testing day and there were striking differences in accuracy, capacity, battery life and a host of other features. In the final analysis the iPhone was no match for the Suunto Ambit.

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Suunto Ambit Now Offers On Screen Maps and Track Back For Navigation

Low battery life in GPS mode, lower GPS accuracy, heavier weight, larger size, no barometric altimeter and a host of other factors make the iPhone far less desirable than a good GPS watch.

At Heart Rate Watch Company they like testing technology and at Bridger Bowl, Montana they tested the Suunto Ambit GPS versus an iPhone with a ski app.

"At present smart phones combined with apps really can't come close to a watch like the Suunto Ambit for a multitude of reasons", says Rusty Squire, President of the Heart Rate Watch Company. He adds, "Low battery life in GPS mode, lower GPS accuracy, heavier weight, larger size, no barometric altimeter and a host of other factors make the iPhone far less desirable than a good GPS watch".

iPhone's battery life in GPS mode is a little over 2 hours tops, which might be fine for a short run or bike ride but it is not going to last all day long skiing in cold weather. It won't last for a hundred mile bike ride or a marathon either, unless one purchases an auxiliary battery which only further increases the weight and size.

"iPhone was built to be a smart phone and communications device, but its primary design influences do nothing to take into account fitness or athletics and, for those reasons, it is an inferior solution", says Squire. He adds, "For applications on the bike where weight is not an issue is about the only place we use it and I doubt Apple is going to shrink the device simply to placate fitness applications".


Perhaps a better application, according to Squire, is that of using the Bluetooth Smart that is already in the iPhone 4S and 5 and using Bluetooth Smart in the fitness devices. "This was exactly what Garmin just did with its new Garmin Edge 510 and Edge 810 bike computers", says Squire. He adds, "Now if you carry a Bluetooth Smart enabled smart phone you can instantly upload data and track in real-time, it's cool stuff".

Of course, for cyclists this type of second device carry is easy with jersey pockets, as it is for skiers with coats. "Other sports where you need to be hands-free like running, kayaking and don't have the pocketed attire then this phone based method just won't work", says Squire. He adds, "That is what I like about my Suunto Ambit, I am always hands-free no matter what I am doing".


Most software evolves over many years to become superior, such as Training Peaks software or Garmin Connect, because Rome was not built in a day. "This is where some of the apps out there really lag as they have no history, no evolution and half the time have glitches or lack flexibility", says Squire. He adds, "I'm sure those first attempts will get better over time but I have yet to see an app that can deliver the quality and breadth of data my Garmin Connect can with my Garmin Edge 810".

As Squire says, "Right now in the fitness realm the iPhone is kind of like "my brother from another mother" and that isn't likely to change anytime soon for maximizing features or minimizing size". He adds, "Anybody who thinks their iPhone can replace a Suunto Ambit in serious outdoor adventure is mistaken because you do get what you pay for".

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Rusty Squire, President

Tarie Beck, CFO
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